Monday, February 02, 2009

KDE 4.2 is much more like it

A while back I outlined why I wasn't able to use KDE yet, which at the time was at version 4.1. Since then, KDE 4.2 has been released and is being much touted as the first version in the 4.x series that is truly suitable for end users.

Well, the short story is that I'm extremely pleasantly surprised!

Here's the long story. Having just upgraded to 6GB of ram, I needed to upgrade to 64-bit in order to take advantage. With jaunty in alpha 3 and offering KDE 4.2, I decided to go ahead and install that, using ext4 too. This other stuff is for another post though: now I'll go through my previous complaints and see where we're at now...

  1. Taskbar entries are now movable: this is configurable in the widget's properties, which allows position to be set to 'manual'. Grouping is also in place and can also be set to manual.
  2. The taskbar height is now fully resizable, and works very well.
  3. There is still no applet for tomboy notes: I don't expect this to change any time soon, if ever.
  4. It looks like KDE's choice of desktop search service is one called strigi, which is itself a part of the larger nepomuk semantic desktop system. This all looks very interesting, but there appears to be some problems with strigi performance.
  5. I have no problems with picking up and dragging around windows now. In fact, this seems to be extremely smooth, and it is very noticeable that there is no tearing as things are being moved around.
  6. As with Tomboy, I don't see this happening any time soon, if ever.
  7. This has been fixed: the system tray now displays very nicely.
  8. I now have no problems assigning keys to switch desktops and move windows from one desktop to the other. In fact, this seems to have come on in leaps and bounds. I wanted to assign something the other day and there it was, exactly where I expected it.
  9. This one still persists, and is probably what bugs me the most. The problem affects the system tray and digital clock widgets, and is documented in this bug.
  10. I still get this, particularly in Thunderbird and Prism. I did find a nice theme for firefox which makes it fit right in with the default KDE theme, and that helped a great deal. Does need more work.
  11. This seems to have disappeared completely, which is obviously very welcome indeed. :)
  12. kopete still doesn't do IRC. However, I really do need to have a look at quassell, which has a very interesting client/server architecture which I think I will find extremely useful.
So from that list we see a considerable improvement over KDE 4.1, enough that I'm going to be sticking with it for the time being.

The main problem for me is the way in which the clock and system tray widgets want to soak up all usable space on the panel, which is horribly messy.

Still, heck of a job. I'm going to be very interested when 4.3 comes along to see what else they've done...